The University of Arizona is issuing a challenge to Arizona State University and it has nothing to do with sports.
On Wednesday, UA opened its Eller College of Management in Scottsdale, right in the heart of ASU country. The college will offer Master of Business Administration degrees in a Valley where the business of MBAs is increasingly competitive.
The move could lure students, financial support and businesses from other campuses, including ASU.
“Our MBA programs will be taught by our university faculty who will commute from Tucson to Scottsdale,” said Linda Herrick, UA management business adviser. “And our tuition will be much less than the MBA programs offered by ASU.”
Tuition for the MBA programs at the new college is $50,000, compared with between $60,000 and $65,000 at ASU, Herrick said. MBA graduates are often a strong source for alumni financial giving and contributions to their colleges and universities, meaning money that previously might have gone to ASU could now end up in the hands of the UA.
So far, the hometown university isn’t worried.
“We’ll see more competition from them, but we have a bigger faculty and, I think, a far better reputation,” said Gerry Keim, associate dean of the W.P. Carey School of Business MBA program at ASU.
“Our scores are going up. Our students also earn higher salaries than theirs (after receiving their MBAs).”
Keim added: “There’s not a lot of market for students in Tucson to enroll in MBA programs. So, when Paul Portney (dean of Eller College of Management) looks for new sources of revenue, he looks to the greater Phoenix area.”
Demand for MBAs in the Valley is growing steadily, Keim said.
“Last January, we had to turn away 25 students because there was not enough space in our classrooms,” he said.
Eller College of Management opened its doors on the third floor of a commercial building at the McDowell Mountain Business Park, near Pima Road and Loop 101. The college is offering three MBA programs for recent university graduates and students with business experience, as well as special classes for employees from sponsoring companies.
The new MBA program joins a list of nine being offered at ASU facilities in Tempe and downtown Phoenix and programs at other Valley colleges, including Mesa Community College, Scottsdale Community College, the University of Phoenix and Gateway Community College.
In July, W.P. Carey doubled the size of its Evening Accelerated MBA Program. In February, it will offer two more MBA courses at the Tempe campus.
Keim said the college is one of the largest business schools in the United States, with more than 190 faculty members, 1,400 graduate students and more than 2,700 working toward MBA degrees.